Coming off a marathon run last weekend AND 2 weeks of crazy cold sub-zero temps, thinkin’ this might be my best chance/motivation to complete gift purchases & send out holiday cards.  Only 11 days ’til Christmas!

Think again…. received an email from Fort Collins hiking buddy, Cammy – Erik & her are free 2 of the next 3 weekends.  Winter 14er hike?  Heck yeah!  (I’ll get holiday inspired next week 🙂 )

Teamed up with M & caravanned down I-25 to the Sangre de Cristo Range – destination: Blanca Peak.  Located the pull-off from Highway 160 & managed maybe a quarter-mile off road before burrowing deep in mountain snow.  Erik unloaded chains – determined their Subaru would make the journey UP.

Most cars can drive about 1.5 miles up before it gets rough. 4WD SUVs and trucks can slowly make it 3.25 miles to several pull-offs at 8,800’, before the road turns nasty.

As the clock ticked 1 (a.m.), pulled out sleeping bags & crashed for a few hours before tomorrow morning’s ascent.  Ice formed on the inside of M’s jeep – all liquids froze except for a last minute Gatorade purchase.  Cold, super cold!

3 of us crazies started the hike UP, catching the most beautiful pink sunrise.  (M drove on to Alamosa for the day.)  Snow was only wind-blown patchy in areas so I make an über dumb move & leave my snow shoes behind – opting for a lighter pack.

Another mile further we reached sunlight – warmth improved my spirit while ice dangled from my beard.

I struggled this day in knee-deep snow (why did I leave my shoes in the car? ARGH!)  Found myself lagging far behind.  Who wants to be that person?  Decided this just wasn’t my day so I would head back – but needed to first catch Cammy & Erik.  Not once but twice I almost reached the Super Hikers, only to see them complete their mini- snack break & push even further.  LOL>

Snow is now waist-deep.  Thinkin’ I’m D-U-N (done).  Only .5 miles further to Como Lake.  Totally do-able.

SUCCESS!  Kicked back on the frozen lake, I refuel & catch some zzz’s.

Return hike is soooo much easier – no longer cutting a trail UP in snow.  11 mile roundtrip winter hike.  No Blanca Peak today but gotta thank Team Ft Collins for pushing me this day.  I’ll be back…in the summer 🙂

Wait, wait – this tale’s not finished.

Back on the highway & only another 15 minutes down the road, we take in an hour at Great Sand Dunes Nat’l Park.  Sand dunes & snow — followed by Mexican food in Walsenburg.  FANTASTIC finish, FANTASTIC day!

 

 

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4 Responses to hike #69: Como Lake, Blanca

  • Steve says:

    Your icy beard reminds me of Ro’s icy beard! Like father, like Ro!

  • Donna says:

    Hey Keenan, Absolutely beautiful country! Guess you learn something new each time you venture out huh? No matter what it looks like in one spot, better take the snowshoes! I’m happy that you are enjoying your life in Colorado! You must have some very strong legs now for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you for the Christmas card. Sweet of you. I only sent out about six this year. I had wanted to do email ones, but didn’t. Do take care and stay safe too.
    Love, Donna

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